Joel Tjintjelaar portrait

Joel Tjintjelaar – BWvision.com Owner and Founder, B&W fine art photographer/ educator/ author.

Joel is a fine-art photographer, author and educator, specialized in Black and White, long exposure, architectural, landscape and still life photography. Born in Jakarta, raised in The Netherlands, trained as a criminal lawyer, but worked in the IT for over 20 years before he quit his daytime job in 2014 to do photography full-time.

Joel believes that fine-art photography, and art in general, is about creating meaningful experiences, with a high aesthetic appeal to understand and change our perception and awareness of the world we live in and our own place and responsibility in it.

Joel won multiple 1st and 2nd prizes at the prestigious International Photography Awards between 2010 and 2014, and received other prestigious commendations. Joel developed a digital B&W post-processing method that influenced, and has been adopted by, many B&W enthusiasts over the world since 2011 through his workshops and website. It’s a structured method for B&W processing with dimensional depth, that became increasingly ubiquitous the past decade, largely due to Joel’s contributions.

His work has been published in leading photography magazines since 2009 and displayed in galleries and exhibitions worldwide since 2013. Joel was one of the faces for PhaseOne’s Achromatic camera and NIK Software’s Silver Efex Pro2 and is currently producing advanced B&W editing software panels himself.

Joel co-authored with Julia Anna Gospodarou the highly praised 424 pages eBook From Basics to Fine Art – Black and White Photography – architecture and beyond released in 2014.
Here’s just an example of what others say about the book. In this case George DeWolfe:
“Outside of Ansel Adams’ Basic Photo Series, From Basic to Fine Art, by Joel Tjintjelaar and Julia Anna Gospodarou, is the best book on B&W photography written in the last 40 years.”
George DeWolfe – Fine Art Photographer, Instructor & Writer (Luminous Landscape.com)


2014 International Photography Awards (IPA): 1st place winner in Architecture for Professionals– for the winning entry “Visual Acoustics – Silence and Light – Series 2 Bridges”. A series of 2 photographs on bridges in an urban environment based on Louis Kahn’s concepts on the magic of shadows.
2014 International Photography Awards (IPA): Honourable mention in Architecture for Professionals – for the winning entry “Visual Acoustics – Silence and Light – Series 1 Cityscapes”. A series of 5 photographs on cityscapes based on Louis Kahn’s concepts on the magic of shadows.
2013 International Photography Awards (IPA)Honourable mention in Advertisement: Automotive for Professionals– for the winning entry “Classic Cars in Classic B&W Fine Art”. A series of 5 photographs of classic exotic cars against an architectural or landscape setting in B&W, used for a calendar in the automotive industry.
2012 International Photography Awards (IPA)2nd place winner in Architecture for Professionals – for the winning entry “Shape of Light” . A series of 5 photographs based on Le Corbusier’s quote.
2012 International Photography Awards (IPA)Honourable mention in Architecture for Professionals – for the winning entry “A monochromatic slice of Mondrian: Monodrian” . A series of 5 photographs based on Le Corbusier’s quote.
2011 International Photography Awards (IPA)1st place winner in Architecture – for the winning entry “Frozen Music” . A series of 5 photographs of Goethe’s Frozen Music concept.
2011 International Photography Awards (IPA)Honourable mention – Fine-art Landscape category for the winning entry “Zenith”.
2011 International Photography Awards (IPA)Honourable mention – Fine-art Landscape category for the winning entry “Dead-End”.
2010 International Photography Awards (IPA)2nd place in Architecture – Bridges category for the winning entry “Zeeland Bridge Studies” . A series of 5 photographs of the Zeeland Bridge in the Netherlands.
2010 Sony World Photography Awards (SWPA): Shortlisted and finalist in the Landscape category with Bridge Study IV.
2010 Sony World Photography Awards (SWPA): Special commendation in the Architecture category with Connected.


Too many to mention but Joel has been published in leading photography magazines worldwide, from 2009 up to date. Furthermore featured on countless websites and on Dutch National TV in 2013. His work has been used in major global ads for BMW and by Broadcasting networks.

Joel also appeared as an ambassador or ‘the face’ of various products related to photography:


 Joel’s work has been displayed in exhibitions in Germany, France and his work is represented by the following galleries:

Rotella Gallery – SoHo New York City: 468 West Broadway, New York, NY10012

Rotella Gallery – Bellevue Square: Bellevue, Washington – USA

O-Elite Gallery – Starting June 2019.

Also a small selection of Joel’s work is exclusively available as a limited edition at the Joseph and James gallery in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Joseph and James Gallery – Bloemgracht 2, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Light and Shadows

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been in awe of light and shadows. How the way light falls and creates shadows and contrasts can make me feel. So many intensities of light, so many shades of shadows: from bright, almost blinding harsh light to warm, soothing light that literally covers me like a blanket. From harsh dark shadows to soft graduating shadows that never go black. 

The quality and character of light make my mood, impact my emotional and intellectual behavior. Just like a specific smell can transport you instantly to a specific, lost moment in time like Marcel Proust described with his famous Madeleine cookie incident; light has a similarly profound effect on me. 

More than with smells and scents, a specific quality of light can instantly pick me up and put me in another moment in time, almost physically reliving a memory, that otherwise remains elusive and out of reach to me. 

Obviously, I’m not the only one whose behavior and mood can be so impacted by light so drastically. But I know that to me, light is so decisive and is a trigger for what I do and feel on a daily basis. I’m always searching for that specific light that can make me feel something intensely. Always hungry for that type of light. Like I need air for breathing, I need light for feeling something I long to feel. For feeling like doing something.

Light, of course, is important to all photographers. It is a physical condition essential to mechanically capture a photograph. After I capture the light in my exposure, I want to do more with it. So much more to match the light in my inner world. I want to mold it, exaggerate it or remove it. To make it mine. My light. My shadow. An extension and representation of my personal world.

My art is not about architecture, landscapes, or still life. My art is about light and shadows and I use predominantly architecture to evoke what I feel. I need those objects to be able to reveal the light and shadows. To reveal what I felt. To reveal what I want to escape, but can’t, and what I long for, and will never keep.

This leads to the observation that at the same time, the interaction of light and shadow is also a metaphor of my life and the events in my life: always trying hard to escape the darkness and be in the light, but the shadows, the absolute darkness is the default we will all go back to. Ultimately we can’t escape it. Therefore, when I’m in the light, I want to make it shine as brightly as possible.


BWVISION is a website, founded in 2009 by Joel Tjintjelaar, and his personal voice in photography focused on understanding fine-art and enabling craftsmanship in black and white photography. We do that by critically deconstructing the many rules and myths surrounding photography and art that limit our artistic potential. And we do that by providing articles on black and white photography, based on personal best practices that have led to personal successes. They don’t serve as rules in fine-art photography, but merely as guidelines that may work for you too. Because there are no rules in art and there’s no recipe for success in art, other than being authentic. We therefore also believe that it is our mission to be authentic in the content of the articles we provide. We refine concepts, sometimes we redefine concepts, but we will never rehash commonplaces.


As a creative, technology is there to support and enable us, not to be our main focus of attention. Technique in art is something different. It is the way we use technology in an efficient and effective way to be creative. Many times technology aims to replace our creativity which is favorable if you prefer superficial social media acknowledgment over expressing your authentic voice. And many times techniques are just a collection of tricks with no unifying overall vision: magic without a cause. I don’t advocate the former, nor the latter.

My goal is to express our authentic selves, our unique individuality, through art but also through a way of living – which is the real source and goal of art – enabled by technology. I think of myself as a creator with a cause. The techniques I utilize and advocate, are self-built highways through the technological landscape surrounding us, to bring an idea from a mental image to a physical image.

I encourage you to make use of those highways. And I encourage you to make use of the gems of knowledge I found along my way. I encourage you, not because I know it all and want to make money off your visits to my website. Yes, surely, I know a lot about my profession as a black and white fine-art photographer, and yes, surely, making money will enable me to make a living and live. But more important than this, material richness only won’t enrich our lives, what enriches our lives and makes it truly meaningful, is when we’re constantly making an effort to contribute to the richness of anyone’s life and life itself, no matter how small this contribution is. Whether this is by sharing my knowledge, by showing the searcher in search of beauty through art a way, by enjoying the art I create, perhaps by being inspired by the art I create or by finding purpose in this life by being able to create intentionally – it doesn’t matter.

He who deliberately makes an effort to give to others, no matter what this gift is, enriches life and an individual and contributes to humanity. That’s the most anyone can aspire from one’s life. And in this, I find meaning in life. I find meaning in sharing my joy when creating and viewing art, and I find meaning when sharing my knowledge of the art I create. I’m fully aware of my potential as a human being and with this website and my products, I am making an effort to fulfill my potential. Therefore I encourage you because I want my life to be meaningful.


  • Practice what you preach: everything I share, advise, recommend or the products I sell and endorse, are what I do or use myself. My articles and tutorials, the gear and filters I recommend, the panels I developed. There are no holds barred in the technology and knowledge I share.
  • I’m always aiming for the horizon, and when I’m there, I’m looking out for the next horizon. There’s no ultimate goal, no maximum point, no ultimate product, no point of 100% perfectionism. There’s only moving further from the point I once where, even if that point was the ultimate summit. If you can’t go higher, you need to learn to fly and then go higher. That’s my attitude towards everything I create: videos, books, software panels. If I didn’t meet expectations, it’s not because of lack of trying, but I will always improve and move further away.
  • Be respectful: this applies to me when I approach you, and to you, if you approach me. This applies when giving critique and this applies when receiving critique.
  • Personal and professional service: I make it an effort to help each and everyone personally. If it’s sufficient to help you with just one sentence in an email, then that will do. And if it’s only sufficient to help you after tens of emails back and forth, a phone call, or even a video session, then I’m going out of my way to do that. I’m always, making that effort so long as there’s mutual respect. No exception. But sometimes I fail.
  • Being yourself is good, no matter what other people say. We cultivate being yourself and being authentic because if you are yourself and are being authentic, we are all different and unique and what you create will never be a cliche.


  • We arguably have the most complete and detailed free tutorial on long exposure photography available on the Internet, on this website. Also, arguably, the first to publish such an elaborate article for free on the Internet since the summer of 2009 [more].
  • The author’s (Joel Tjintjelaar) personal method of Black and White post-processing, called iSGM, that was developed between 2009 and 2010, and first made public early 2011, is a method of post-processing in black and white, that is being increasingly used amongst black and white enthusiasts with professional aspirations, due to its high degree of control and structured way of working [more] and [more]
  • Split-toning in the digital age has always been a matter of using plugins or presets in PS or LR software. Often those split-tone results weren’t very subtle with limited control on the end-result. Joel has developed a new method of creating split-tones that is transparent with a high degree of accuracy and delivers far more control over the individual tones and also more subtlety than the average plug-in or preset [more] – this method has been implemented in the B&W fine-art panel, first released in May 2016 and is now called B&W Artisan Pro.

This is just a short listing of the type of technical tutorials and products we’ve published over the years that show our innovative and experimental spirit. On a more theoretical level, we’ve also published the following articles that contain information beyond the ubiquitous and show our drive for innovation:

  • What is fine-art  – a highly personal view on what art is in photography [more]
  • The creative process in art – an analysis on creativity and how to learn creativity [more]
  • In defense of black and white photography – an analysis why black and white is used and its advantages compared to color photography based on some findings in neuroscience. [more]
  • Guide to black and white photography – technical essentials on black and white photography that goes further and deeper than the usual tips on black and white photography [more]
  • The rules of gray – what makes for a good black and white photograph [more]


The majority of our tutorials have been written by the owner and founder of BW/Vision, Joel Tjintjelaar.


I’ve given it a lot of thought and consideration to replace my artist statement, which you can find before my personal statement, with something more personal, a personal statement that you can find here below because not only do I doubt the authenticity of many artist statements, I also think they’re often meaningless and too abstract. And I can imagine you may doubt my artist statement too and find it a prime example of meaningless abstraction. But I decided to keep it as a ‘formal’ statement for those of you readers, who believe that any artist should have a formal statement. I’m not one of them, because I believe my personal statement says more about me and what I try to express in my creations, than any formally constructed artist statement.

So here it is, my PERSONAL STATEMENT.

I’m an easy going man but I can be very difficult at times, especially if I feel you want to impose your thoughts and believes upon me.
I’m openminded and flexible but sometimes I’m very rigid, dogmatic, especially when I know I’m right and you’re wrong.
I’m a person of color and I’m proud of that, and if you think I’m less because of my color I will show you how much more I am than you. And you will know.
I’m a man, but that doesn’t mean that my biological, purely coincidental constitution, constitutes and determines my social-cultural behavior. Even if some people think it does. I think of men and women as human beings, not as men or women.
I don’t like sexist jokes or behavior, no matter if you’re a man or a woman.
I’m not easily impressed by what you’ve achieved, but more by how you treat other people and your ability to ‘give’ in the broadest sense of the word.
I’m passionate and full of fire when it comes to things I love and believe in. And the fire will keep on raging. So don’t think you can tame me even if you think I’m bordering to insanity.
I give respect to anyone I come across, no matter who you are: man, woman, child, foreigner, white, colored, LGTB, educated, not educated, blue-collar worker, white-collar worker, celebrity or just the average Joe. So I expect respect in return and I will let you know if you don’t give me the respect I deserve as a human being and that I give to you, no matter who you are: celebrity, genius, president or the average man. I will let you know and you will feel it.
I don’t look down on anyone, I don’t look up to anyone, I see you as you are. I expect the same from you.
I always think before I say or do things, so if you say things to me, I hope you’ve thought about it first.
I sometimes try to sell things here, and I believe I can do that since this is my personal page and because I’ve given a lot for free over the years and still give a lot for free. You give some, you take some and I’ve always given more than I took.
If you write me an email, I appreciate the correct informal salutation. It’s a sign of respect, no matter if you bought a product or service from me and assume the purchase entitles you to more than you paid for. You can buy my products in which I put everything I have in terms of knowledge, effort and experience but you can never buy me. You’re entitled to my services, but you’re not entitled to be 
disrespectful towards me.
If you don’t like what I wrote here or don’t like the way I look, there’s an unsubscribe button. No hard feelings. But if you keep visiting my blog, I expect you to respect my thoughts and feelings. Me.


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